6 to Enter UF Athletic Hall of Fame

The University of Findlay will induct six new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame at the 38th annual induction ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 28, in the Winebrenner Theological Seminary TLB Convocation Center. Doors will open at 10:15 a.m., and the luncheon begins at 11 a.m.  

To pre-register, contact Dee Dee Spraw, director of alumni and parent relations, by calling 419-434-4589. Walk-ins also will be accepted. Tickets for the ceremony and luncheon are $15 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under.

At 10 a.m., prior to the induction ceremony and luncheon, a new Hall of Fame site will be dedicated in the lobby of the Koehler Fitness and Recreation Complex. Transportation will be available from Winebrenner to Koehler and back beginning at 9:30 a.m. No pre-registration is required for the dedication ceremony.  

Inductees this year include James “Eddie” Jordan ’61, East Cleveland; Ron Niekamp, Findlay; Violet “Vi” LeClair, Hickory, N.C.; Ray Long ’95, Clyde; William Matthews ’96, Coconut Creek, Fla.; and Susan (Deeds) Rossman ’88, Jenera.  

James “Eddie” Jordan graduated from then-Findlay College in 1961. He earned 12 athletic letters as a member of the football, baseball, wrestling and track teams. For his football accomplishments, Jordan was named First Team All-Mid Ohio three times and Second Team All-Mid Ohio one time.

As a halfback, Jordan was the leading rusher and scorer for the Oilers for three seasons. Jordan was a top-10 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) ground-gainer. As a member of the baseball team, Jordan was named First Team All-Mid Ohio three times. 

Jordan is a retired educator. He resides in East Cleveland with his wife, Gwendolyn. They have two children and four grandchildren.  

Ron Niekamp concluded a 26-year career as men’s basketball coach at Findlay following the 2010-2011 season. During the 2008-2009 season, the Oilers won the men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association II National Championship, while earning a 36-0 record. Niekamp finished his career at Findlay with 598 wins and 185 losses.  

Niekamp was named National Coach of the Year by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Division II Bulletin and Basketball Times publication in 2009.

He also was Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year five times, NCAA Division II Midwest Coach of the Year three times and Columbus Dispatch Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year two times. Niekamp was inducted into the Cradle of Coaches at Miami University of Ohio in 2004 and the Hancock County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.  

Niekamp is an instructor at The University of Findlay. He resides in Findlay with his wife, Doris. They have four children and three grandchildren.  

Violet “Vi” LeClair was director of the University’s athletic training program from 1990-2001. She advised athletic training majors, taught athletic training courses and supervised students in practice. LeClair was responsible for giving the athletic training program the initial boost toward the prominence it currently enjoys. LeClair has been inducted into both the Ohio Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and the Marietta College Athletic Hall of Fame.  

An American Red Cross volunteer for 25 years, LeClair has served as an assistant athletic trainer for the NCAA III Women’s National Swimming and Diving Championships as well as numerous other venues including the United States Olympic Training Center.

LeClair retired in 2007 and lives in Hickory, N.C. She has two children.

Ray Long graduated from the University in 1995. A linebacker, Long was a member of two NAIA national championship teams, was named First-Team All-American two times and set the UF record for tackles in a season (164) and during a career (432).  

In addition to his full-time job at H.J. Heinz in Fremont, Ohio, Long is the defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Clyde High School. He has coached the team during five state playoff appearances, including three regional finals and one state semifinal. Long resides in Clyde with his wife, Jennifer. They have four children, one of whom is deceased.

William Matthews graduated from Findlay in 1996. A track star, he was an 11-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American honoree, four times for individual events and seven times as a relay team member. Matthews earned All-American recognition indoors three times in the mile relay. In 1996, at the NAIA Indoor Championships, Matthews had a hand in 15 of the Oilers’ 30 points leading UF to a fifth-place team finish, their highest ever at a national championship event.    

A two-time Mid-Ohio Conference (MOC) Champion and All-District 22 Champion, Matthews held the UF record in the 400-meter dash for 16 years and is currently third on the all-time list and fourth in the 200-meter dash. Matthews was named Man of the Year by the Black Student Union and received the Mancuso Award in 1996 as the top UF male student-athlete that year.    

Matthews resides in Coconut Creek, Fla., and has one child. He is the owner of The Career Consultant and serves as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Susan (Deeds) Rossman graduated from UF in 1988. She was the first female recipient of the Mancuso Award that year, which recognizes the top student-athlete at Findlay. Rossman excelled in both volleyball and basketball. As a member of the volleyball team, Rossman made three National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics District 22 playoff appearances. She was named NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete as a senior and was a Second Team selection in the Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference (WBCC).

In basketball, Rossman earned First Team All-WBCC and First Team All-District 22 honors as a senior. She was named Second Team All-HBCC (Hoosier Buckeye Collegiate Conference) and Honorable Mention All-District 22 as a junior.  

Rossman currently ranks 13th on the UF career scoring list with 1,099 points, 11th for both the most points in a season (412) and in a game (31), and 11th for career rebounding (531) including a single-game high of 17 while a sophomore. Rossman was inducted into the Hancock County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.   

Rossman is the varsity volleyball coach at Cory-Rawson High School and is the director of the Gold Diggers Volleyball Club. She resides in Jenera, Ohio, with her husband, Todd, and they have two children.